[Music playing]

>>Ben Mirin: Welcome to the show.

[Music playing]

>>Ben Mirin: Welcome everyone to today’s webinar, exploring nature through sound and music with the Cornell Lab’s Center for Conservation Bioacoustics. My name is Benjamin Mirin and I’m a PhD student, I study birdsong in southeast Asia. Thank you all for joining us. During today’s program we’ll be traveling from the Sierra Nevadas in the western United States to central Africa, and then dive below the surface of the world’s tropical oceans. We’ll be meeting researchers who will share how their acoustic data contributes to conservation, and I’ll be transforming those sounds into live music.

Live music, you wonder? Yes, one of the things that I also do is work as a wildlife DJ. I’ve traveled the world recording animal sounds for the past few years, and sampled them to create music. And my hope in sharing that with you is to get you excited about these sounds that we all study, and to perhaps unlock some of your own passions and think about how to apply them to the natural world.

Before we get started with our presentation from our scientists today, I do have a few quick announcements: Closed captioning is available, if you’d like to see subtitles please click the Captions button at the bottom of your screen.
If you have a question for the presenters, for those of you on Zoom click on the Q&A button located at the bottom of your screen and type your questions into that Q&A window. If you like someone else’s question, please upvote that question by clicking the thumbs up icon. We’ll be answering some questions verbally, and for others we’ll be typing in our answers, which you’ll be able to see in the “Answered” column.

Please only use the chat for technical support or to share information, we will not be monitoring it for questions. If you want to use the chat please change the “To:” form in the typing section from “All Panelists” to “All Panelists and Attendees.”

We are also streaming live to Facebook. If you are watching on the Cornell Lab’s Facebook page, you can add your questions to the comments and we’ll do our best to answer those too. Also, please be aware that there have been some spam attempts in the Facebook comments, so please do not click any links in Facebook unless they are posted by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

With that, let’s get started. I’m so excited to introduce our first presenter today, Dr. Connor Wood, who has done a lot of work recording Spotted Owls in the Sierra Nevadas in California. Please take it away Connor, and tell us all about your research.

>>Connor Wood: Thanks Ben, and thanks everybody for tuning in. It’s great to have a big crowd today. So I joined the Lab this summer as a postdoctoral researcher, and like Ben said I work in California Sierra Nevada. I started working there in 2017 during my PhD at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and the goal of the project was to develop a monitoring program for Spotted Owls. And I’d never seen or heard a Spotted Owl, so I was super excited to add a famous bird to the old life list.

Now since the 1990s, researchers have used a few small-scale studies to track the Spotted Owl population. We wanted to see how they are doing everywhere, not just in these small study areas. And to do this we needed to use bioacoustics. So we bought 200 recording devices from the Lab, and each summer since 2017 the crew has been shuffling those units all around the mountains in the northern Sierras.

This approach is much more efficient than traditional surveys, which helps us get that really broad coverage that we want. Basically, we strap these units — and so this is one of them you can see here — we strap these units to trees and they just sit there and record. And what we’re listening for is the call of the Spotted Owl, which you’ll hear a little bit later.

We don’t actually do very much literal listening, because we collect about 350,000 hours of audio every year. Which is about 40 years of audio data, and to be honest that’s pretty terrifying. That’s a lot of data. So to make that manageable, I used software that was developed by the Lab of Ornithology to scan that data for the Spotted Owl calls. And with that info, I can see where they are and where they are not, and how that’s changing over time.

So my goal now is to actually look at the entire bird community, not just Spotted Owls. Since the beginning of the project, we’ve had these recording units active all night of course for the owls, but also recording into the dawn and dusk chorus. So now it’s just a question of identifying all the birds that are singing.

Fortunately, the Lab has a new artificial intelligence tool called BirdNET, which can identify more than 95 percent of North American and European birds just by sound. So right now, I’m working on applying BirdNET to that Sierra Nevada audio data. And I’m excited because I think the results will be useful right away.

I saw some people in the chat are tuning in from California, and I’m sure a lot of the rest of you have heard about all the really bad fires that were happening this fall. Well, one of the biggest ones burned right through part of our study area. And this is really sad, but it means we can start working on understanding the effects of that fire immediately. We already have data about what birds were present before the fire, and next fall will have data on what’s present after the fire. And so I think a key part of this project will be helping managers design policies that reduce the risk of these really big fires, without having negative consequences for overall bird diversity.

And so I think this project is already transforming how we monitor birds in the Sierra Nevada. We can get much bigger coverage than we did before, for Spotted Owls and for everything else. And I’m optimistic that this we can also help people in different ecosystems design their own acoustic monitoring programs. So it’s pretty exciting time to be part of this project.

>>Ben Mirin: Connor, thank you so much for giving us a window into the work you’ve been doing. I’m curious, what is the next step for your research?

>>Connor Wood: Yeah. So this summer we’re planning to expand from the northern Sierra Nevada to the entire range. So that’s 400 miles of mountainous terrain and it’s going to be a big challenge. But I think there will also be really big payoffs for bird conservation, and really how we can manage the entire ecosystem.

>>Ben Mirin: And can you connect this back to owls for us? Because that’s where we started, and I think that’s such an amazing way of kind of gaining entry into this world that you’ve been immersed in for so long.

>>Connor Wood: Yeah. So people think of Spotted Owls as an umbrella species. And that’s this idea where if you protect one species, you end up protecting a lot of other ones. But in the case of Spotted Owls, which have really specialized habitat requirements, that’s actually not very effective because you miss those species that aren’t specialized also in that same habitat type. But this monitoring program I think is a chance to change that. So it’s funded because Spotted Owls are endangered, but we can use the data to help protect all these other species in the ecosystem. So in a way I think this program is a chance for Spotted Owls to actually kind of become a true umbrella species for maybe the first time.

>>Ben Mirin: And speaking of that umbrella species, I think we still owe our audience a bit of a listen on what these owls actually sound like. So I’m going to share a piece of your data set. Ladies and gentlemen get excited. We’re going to listen to the Spotted Owl call in the wild, and then Connor is going to tell us a little bit about what’s happening in this recording. Check this out.

Pardon me folks, just going to double check something, make sure you can all hear.

Okay, there it is, sorry. Here we go.

[Owl hooting]

>>Connor Wood: Yeah, so that is a clip of a male Spotted Owl hooting, and I think in a few seconds maybe the female might chime in and respond. And on sort of a big picture way, like, that’s the sound of the project working. Without the hearing those vocalizations the whole thing kind of falls apart. And so that’s obviously really reassuring. But it’s also this really cool and intimate view into the secret lives of these owls. And that’s really one of my favorite parts of the project, is getting to this little window into the lives of these birds it’s really very exciting.

>>Ben Mirin: And as the owls go to sleep in the early morning hours the sounds of the landscape will change. And the function of the umbrella species becomes truly clear, because suddenly the acoustic world of the Sierras opens up and we hear all other kinds of species vocalizing for the first time that day.

[Music and bird sounds playing]

>>Ben Mirin: Take it, Nuthatch!

[Music and bird sounds playing]

>>Ben Mirin: Now we find ourselves in a new part of the world, on this international journey. We are in the heart of central Africa, listening to the sounds of some of the biggest vocalists on the planet. And here to introduce us to them are Daniela and Bobbi from the Elephant Listening Project.

[Video playing]

>>Daniela Hedwig: Hi, I’m Daniela Hedwig. I’m a researcher with the Elephant Listening Project at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. I am here at one of the last remaining pristine wonders of nature: Zangabai. Zangabai is a vast forest clearing in the heart of the rainforest of the Dzanga-Ndoki National Park in the Central African Republic.

Zangabai is an exceptional place because it is home to the largest known aggregation of forest elephants. Anytime you come here you can expect to see between 50 and 150 forest elephants. The elephants have come here over many generations and have shaped and maintained this clearing. They visit the clearing to access the mineral rich water through small water holes in the ground.

But Zanga doesn’t provide them only with minerals and water, it also provides them with the opportunity to socialize. Here the females meet their mothers and sisters, and the males establish their hierarchies. And the youngsters, they play and learn elephant social etiquette.

Little is known about forest elephant behavior. This is mainly because they are so extremely difficult to observe in the rainforest itself. But here at Zanga we get the rare chance to observe them and study them when they come out into the open.

Elephants use low frequency rumble vocalizations to communicate with each other. Those rumbles play very important roles in coordinating the social interactions between the elephants. We will now continue monitoring this amazing elephant population, to better understand the social relationships between the elephants and also their vocal communication.

[Video stops]

>>Ben Mirin: Daniela and Bobbi so nice to see you both.

>>Bobbi Estabrook: Hello.

>>Ben Mirin: That was an amazing video, thank you for sharing it. I’m curious, what kind of research are you currently collecting at Zangabai?

>>Daniela Hedwig: So as I said in the video, part of our research focuses on better understanding the functions of the rumble vocalizations. And to better illustrate that I brought a little sound clip which I’m going to share with you now.

So here you can see a visual representation of a rumble exchange between two adult female forest elephants. And we can listen to this, hopefully, yeah.

[Elephant rumble sounds playing]

>>Daniela Hedwig: So from recordings like this, we know that rumbles are very variable in their structure. Some are very long in duration, some are short in duration. Some are very high pitched, some are low pitched. And our goal is to kind of decipher what this acoustic variation means.

In the case of this example, we recorded two sisters that have just met again at the clearing, perhaps after many months of separation. And what happened was, they recognized each other by their voices and started approaching each other. And when they arrived at each other, they started rubbing against each other, smelling each other, touching each other, clearly being really excited about, you know, seeing each other again. So this is clearly a friendly signal.

And we found that those friendly rumbles, they are generally longer in duration than rumbles for instance given during competitive interactions, when they compete over access to a resource. What we also found is that the structure of rumbles changes as the elephants grow and get older. What we found is that old elephants, adult elephants, have much deeper pitched rumbles, and infants have much higher pitched rumbles. So that’s very similar to what we see in humans, actually. This kind of information helps us to compile what we like to internally call our “elephant dictionary.”

>>Ben Mirin: Thank you for that. I’m really just moved to hear these sounds, and to hear you describe them. It strikes me that this is such an intimate way of understanding another living being. And to develop a dictionary to do so, I mean, that’s magical. It’s so powerful to be able to unpack all this data, and of course to gain access to this other part of the world and have it feel so close to all of us today. How is this gonna advance the mission of the Elephant Listening Project?

>>Daniela Hedwig: Well, it’s unfortunately a fact that forest elephants are threatened. Main factors are poaching for their ivory, and general human encroachment into their habitat. And the sad thing is that we understand their conservation needs very little. The main reason for this is because they’re so very difficult to observe in their forest. It makes it very hard to count them, you know, their population sizes. And it’s very difficult to understand their behavior in the forest as well.

And this is where the acoustic monitoring comes in. We believe that the eavesdropping on their vocalizations, using acoustic monitoring, is the key to their conservation. And what we do is, we have recording units like this. A little bit more rugged than what a Connor has in the Sierra Nevada. I hope you can see it.

>>Ben Mirin: I can, I can see it most of the time. But Bobbi, you have one too, right?

>>Bobbi Estabrook: Yeah, I have one as well. So the microphone is here. And this is a nice protective hard case, that’s going to protect the device inside from humidity, rain, termites, primates…

>>Ben Mirin: Elephants?

>>Daniela Hedwig: But it does not always protect against the elephants themselves.

>>Bobbi Estabrook: Exactly.

>>Daniela Hedwig: You install those units deep in the jungle, up in the trees, but sometimes they drop. And then they sometimes get found by inquisitive elephants. And you can see here, this has a nice hole just to go with the tusk.

>>Ben Mirin: That’s crazy.

>>Daniela Hedwig: They’re very curious animals.

>>Bobbi Estabrook: And they can really sense when there’s something there that that isn’t normally there.

>>Ben Mirin: Yeah, right. Right.

>>Daniela Hedwig: Yeah so what we do is we place those units in the forest. We leave them out there recording the soundscape of the forest for several months, and later in the in the lab we listen, or we scan the soundscape, the recordings that we get. We’re looking for the elephant rumbles, and we count those rumbles, and that helps us to better understand the population size of the elephants in the area, how this changes over time and space. And with the elephant dictionary now, the cool thing is that we can now also begin to understand what the elephant that we recorded was doing when it was producing the rumble, and how old this elephant was.

This is really cool information. We can, for instance, find out are there specific areas in the forest where families meet? Are there specific areas where the big bulls with the deep voices prefer to aggregate in the forest? And this is important information because it helps us to define priority conservation areas, and also to better guide anti-poaching patrol.

>>Ben Mirin: This is all so special. It just occurs to me that, working with these sounds, I mean — I’m becoming a bioacoustician in my own right with a birdsong, but I worked with elephant sounds to make some music that we’re about to transition into a few years ago. And I’m thinking back through all the sounds I have in this track, and trying now to categorize them in the dictionary, and wondering what each of them means.

I’m lucky enough to actually have some data from Zangabai to kick off this next track. I would just love to share with you and get your two cents on what is happening. Because I think there are very few people in the world who can listen to elephants and say, “oh yeah they’re doing this,” but you have this superpower. So I just love to share this with you and nerd out for a second. So it sounds a bit like this.

[Elephant sounds playing]

>>Ben Mirin: So what was happening in that, shouting contest it sounded like?

>>Bobbi Estabrook: Yeah that sounded like it was agitation, and displacement from a watering hole. And that roar, it sounds like a dinosaur roar, but it’s just it’s a really upset elephant, in kind of maybe an aggression situation.

>>Ben Mirin: One of the crazy things I came across when I was composing this piece, was some elephant tracks that were straight out of Hollywood. If folks go and watch Jurassic Park, the first one, again and they hear the T-rex bellowing, that’s actually the sound of an elephant and it’s from this data set. I mean that is so cool, it truly is dinosauric, isn’t it? Thank you to you both for illuminating this incredible species for us, it really means a lot.

>>Daniela Hedwig: Thank you for having us.

>>Bobbi Estabrook: Thank you.

>>Ben Mirin: Let’s keep rocking out.

[Music and elephant sound playing]

>>Ben Mirin: Stomp your feet!

[Music and elephant sound playing]

>>Ben Mirin: In our final stop on this world tour, we’re taking a dive beneath the waves off the coast of Hawaii, into the tropical oceans where sound dominates. Light can’t go very far past the ocean’s surface, and so sound is truly a primary mechanism for communication and survival in the ocean. And here to tell us about that incredible ecosystem and what we can hear, are Isha and Aaron.

>>Isha Bopardikar: Thank you Ben. Hi everyone, thanks for joining. I have a little video that tells us more about the work that we do. So I’m gonna play that.

[Video playing]

>>Isha Bopardikar: I study coastal cetaceans — that’s whales, dolphins, and porpoises — in Indian waters. That’s our team, prepping to look for some Finless Porpoises. As their name suggests, these small elusive animals don’t have a dorsal fin, which makes them a little tricky to spot at sea.

Finless Porpoises, along with the Indian Ocean Humpback Dolphins, live in coastal habitats, placing them right in the middle of all kinds of human activity. Where they face a range of conservation issues, like habitat degradation, and accidental mortalities in by-catch as they interact with fishing vessels and fishing gear. Such concerns make it crucial for us to study these animals and their changing environment.

But how do you study an animal when you can barely see it? This is where acoustics helps. Both dolphins and porpoises produce sounds constantly, to communicate with each other, to find food, and to navigate their surroundings. So by using some specially designed recording setups, we can listen to these very sounds to help us not only locate them, but also count the number of animals present in an area. Over time we hope that by using these information, of how many and how often these animals are found, particularly in disturbed habitats, we can develop some strong conservation measures for these coastal species.

[Video stops]

>>Isha Bopardikar: So while I’m usually listening to larger marine animals, there are incredible animals in the tropical ocean who are small. And they produce some amazing sounds. Aaron is going to talk to us more about that, so I’m going to hand it over to Aaron.

>>Aaron Rice: Thanks, Isha.

So as Isha mentioned, it’s not just whales, dolphins, and porpoises that are making sounds. In these near-shore highly diverse tropical ecosystems, there is a wide range of very small critters you can’t see that are the dominant sound sources. So if we take this particular coral reef in Hawaii, you’ll hear this crackling noise in the background.

[Video and crackling sound playing]

>>Aaron Rice: And this dominant sound source on these coral reefs happens to be produced by about an inch-long shrimp, that are found in all of these crevices on the reef. So originally the idea was that the sound was produced by a clicking of the claws, thought of sort of as a castanets. But recent research shows that it’s actually something much cooler. So what they do is, when the the shrimps open up their claws and it’s closing, what it does is it generates a jet of water that shoots out from this shrimp at about 70 miles an hour. And it creates a cavitation bubble and the sound that you’re actually hearing is when that bubble collapses.

Another source of sound you’ll see, all of these grazing parrotfish chomping happily on coral, scraping off algae. These parrotfish are grinding the coral in their jaws, and a second set of jaws they have in their throat. And they end up pooping out nice white sand. So all those sandy beaches that you walk on, the majority of it is from parrotfish food. Each parrotfish can produce about two tons of sand a year, and the abundance of parrotfish is a good indicator of healthy coral reef systems around the world.

[Music playing]

[Unintelligible]

>>Ben Mirin: Aaron thank you for introducing us to this environment. And Isha, thank you as well.

When I when I first started working with the sounds of snapping shrimp, it always sounded like frying bacon to me. I’m curious if that resonates with other folks. Just isolate this really quick…

[Shrimp sounds playing]

>>Ben Mirin: It kind of makes me hungry, I’m not gonna lie.

So folks we’ve learned about a lot of different sounds in the world today. But one of the most fun things is that a lot of these sounds have co-evolved in different ecosystems to blend together like pieces of a perfectly tuned symphony, shaped by millions of years of evolution. And so now we’re going to take some of the sounds that we just met from the ocean, and layer them to create our final beat.

Right now you can hear decilis and snapping shrimp and a whole host of other fish species. And as that sound propagates through the ocean, as Aaron said it indicates a healthy reef, and that attracts some other animals to the reef as well. And so sound travels all the way up the food chain, until things get much, much bigger.

[Music and marine sounds playing]

>>Ben Mirin: Where my dolphin at?

[Music and marine sounds playing]

>>Ben Mirin: Thank you so much to everyone for tuning in today. We’re now going to segue to a bit of a Q&A, to feature all of our panelists back again. I’m sure we’ve got a lot of questions coming through the chats on Facebook and on Zoom here, so I’m going to be reading them for our team and passing them along.

But let’s welcome back all of our panelists. Great to see you all, thanks so much for sharing your knowledge today. It’s been really a privilege for me as well as for the audience. So yeah, great to have you back.

Let’s see. So, oh wow, the first question is directed at me. “Please re-state what type of DJ you are.”

I’m a wildlife DJ. It’s a term that I came up with, to describe a unique synthesis of music and biology. And the the reason I do this work is to communicate science with new audiences. I was a professional musician before coming to Cornell to start my PhD. And when I started sampling the sounds of birds to reconnect with them from my apartment in Brooklyn, I suddenly discovered that I had a set that I could perform live to my music friends. And so that became uh a tool for me to communicate science to an audience that wasn’t necessarily immersed in the literature or reading popular scientific publications. So yeah, I’m of course really excited to be here, studying at the Lab and developing the science behind the work, but for me it’s one big ecosystem between music and science.

So let’s see. Let’s go to an ocean question, for Aaron and Isha. “What do you use to record underwater animals?”

>>Aaron Rice: Isha, you want to answer or you want me to answer it?

>>Isha Bopardikar: We can both. So I use hydrophone arrays. That’s multiple hydrophones in sort of like, a you can have a linear one, or you can have one in like a rectangular shape, and you primarily use that. So that we can locate the animals and then triangulate to that location and then find out where they are and what they’re doing.

>>Aaron Rice: And we use a variety of underwater equipment for our work. We’ll use everything from what are referred to as dip hydrophones, which is sort of like a little underwater microphone on the end of a cable that you can plug into a recorder. We also have a wide variety of autonomous recorders that we can basically throw over the side of a boat, they sit on the ocean bottom, they record for weeks to months, and then we pick them up at the end of the study or or swap them out. And so basically these are different ways of sort of recording underwater sound through the specialized hydrophone, and then we bring it up on an SD card, and we would analyze in the exact same way that you would analyze a sound recorded by the types of recorders that Connor, Bobbi, and Daniela are using.

>>Ben Mirin: Thank you both. The next question was originally targeted to the ocean team, but I think it’s a question we can all answer. “What is your favorite sound, either to listen to or to study, and why?” It may be a very difficult question to answer, I understand that too.

>>Bobbi Estabrook: Okay I’ll go first. I think one of the first sounds that I heard that really kind of blew me away, was actually the Fin Whale 20 hertz. It’s like a pulsing sound, it is very low frequency, just at the lower edge of our ability to hear, and sometimes you can just feel it more than you can hear it. And I was very impressed. That was one of the first sounds that I had heard when I was you know learning about bio-acoustics, and it was impressive.

>>Connor Wood: My answer might be a little bit of a cop-out, but it might just be that basic Spotted Owl call, because that was like one of the first things I heard as the project was getting started. It was really reassuring, because we honestly weren’t certain that this whole approach that we invested like time and money into was really going to work. And so the fact that it was working was really exciting.

Other species have a whole repertoire of sounds they use, and so we would find just those basic calls, but that was like our starting point into like understanding their lives. So I kind of like it for that reason too. And see these other vocalizations that they’ll make that have different meanings, and hear the individuals interacting with each other. So yeah there’s like a whole world of sound going on.

>>Ben Mirin: So it was both academically rewarding and personally vindicating. I get it. Isha, what about you?

>>Isha Bopardikar: Oh, I think my favorites are the Humpback Dolphins. I can’t hear the porpoises ever. They’re very high frequency, so I have to reduce that sound by speed when I come back home. But the Humpback Dolphins I can hear all the time. And I first time I heard them there was a huge group, they were all talking away under water, so it was quite, quite weird. They sound like mice, they squeak squeak squeak, so high frequency. I mean it just sounds so funny, but it was a huge group, talking talking talking. So it’s quite amazing to listen to them.

>>Ben Mirin: But to be clear, they’re marine mammals.

>>Isha Bopardikar: Yes.

>>Ben Mirin: Okay. Daniela, what about you?

>>Daniela Hedwig: I’m not going to say elephant rumble, though that’s pretty high up on my list.

So before I studied elephants, I studied gorillas, and I think my favorite sound is Mountain Gorilla singing. I know like, most people when they hear gorillas they think of like grunting sounds and very low pitched sounds, but they actually sing. So they come together and they feed on herbs, and while they’re sitting together in their salad bowl, they start really whining and howling like dogs. And it’s the most amazing and fun thing to watch.

>>Ben Mirin: I need to hear that. I’ve never heard that, that’s amazing.

>>Daniela Hedwig: I cannot do it. I’m not going to —

>>Ben Mirin: No, yeah. I get asked to impersonate animals all the time, and now that I study their vocalizations, I say no, no, the real thing is so much cooler, let’s just listen to that. So I won’t put you on the spot.

Okay. Aaron, what about you, what are some of your favorite sounds?

>>Aaron Rice: So being a fish scientist, I have to go with fish sounds. One of them is, one of our species is the Oyster Toadfish. And sort of during one of my formative experiences in graduate school, was snorkeling off of Cape Cod right over a toadfish nest. And it’s sort of an indelicate honk, but when you swim over it your entire body just resonates with it, with the sound of these fish. It’s really an impressive sound. And you’ll have a colony of toadfish that are just honking on and off, with males attracting females, and it just sort of creates this absolute cacophony, that if you know you know the source of the sound is really quite exciting.

And you know, being within the Lab of Ornithology, one of the bird sounds that I’ve been really struck by is a New Zealand species of bird, the Tui. And for those of you that haven’t heard it, I mean it has an uncanny resemblance to R2D2. My understanding is that for Star Wars the Tui sound I don’t think was the type. But if you listen to it, there’s some examples on the Macaulay Library archive, it is just really astonishing to listen to.

>>Ben Mirin: Droids have got nothing on birds, I can vouch for that.

I have a question for the ELP team, Elephant Listening Project. These are both really interesting questions. “Can we distinguish male or female elephants by their sounds?” And then, “Are cameras set up as well to match the sounds to the behavior?” And, “Do elephants ever wear the recording devices?” So I guess three questions.

>>Bobbi Estabrook: Yeah, those are great questions. Daniela actually is in the middle of doing some research with the sex of the elephants.

>>Daniela Hedwig: Yeah. Yeah, we can tell apart male and female adult forest elephants. So as I said earlier, the males get very very large, so they have very very deep rumbles. And the females, they stay smaller, so we can distinguish that. But amongst the sub-adults and juveniles and infants, it gets a little trickier to tell apart the males from the females. We’re working on that.

What was the other question? Was the the sound recording devices on the collars? Yeah so both questions actually really touch on our bigger vision of where we want to take our research. Obviously right now we are we are watching elephants only in the clearing where they spend only very very little time, right? So we actually still don’t really know what they’re doing in the forest. That’s where collars with recording devices come in, and camera traps paired with recording devices. And that’s something that we’re working on, yeah.

>>Bobbi Estabrook: One of our recent projects included camera traps and passive acoustic recording units that were set up in trees together. So they were not part of an elephant collar or anything. But some of our team members are going through those data right now, to see what kind of information we can get from the camera and the acoustics together.

>>Ben Mirin: Very cool. And there’s one more technical technical question about elephants: “What is the frequency range? The lowest frequency to the highest frequency that elephants are capable of?”

>>Daniela Hedwig: Well the cool thing about elephants is that they can make sounds that we can’t even hear. Their voices can get so deep that they’re in the infrasound range, meaning under 20 hertz, which is very difficult to hear for us. But there’s also still energy in the upper frequency, so it can go up to a thousand hertz for the rumbles, but for the very loud roars it can get much much higher.

>>Ben Mirin: Wow. This next question I really love, and it’s for Connor. “How can we turn listening into conservation action?”

>>Connor Wood: Yeah that’s a great question. And I think it really is something that we could all give an answer to, because that’s kind of fundamental to what we’re doing at the Center for Conservation Bioacoustics.

So I’ll give kind of a narrow answer just related to my project. So I gave the example [unintelligible] forest fires. So we surveyed before the fire and what kind of species were present, and then after the fire we can repeat those surveys and see what has changed.

And so we can take that same principle and apply it to different treatments. Say people are going to do a prescribed fire, or go out and do some sort of logging. Or in different ecosystems, like if you’re going to have a grassland ecosystem, when do you want to mow your field, and not affect birds? You can do this to see what’s there after, and then you can take those results and say okay, this is the effect that that action has. So if we like that outcome, we can do more of that action, and if we don’t we can try to avoid it.

And I think that’s a starting point for conservation. I’d love to hear other folks.

>>Aaron Rice: Certainly one thing that we can do too, whether it’s in marine systems or terrestrial ecosystems, we can use these sounds to document the levels of human presence, and what their various degrees of impacts are. We can look at ecosystem function, are things sort of responding in ways that we would predict? Are there aggregations in, you know, in case of fish stocks where they they produce sounds with associated with spawning. We can test the the effectiveness of things like fisheries closures. So you’ll see a number of analogous ways both for marine conservation and terrestrial conservation where bioacoustic methods are becoming more and more of a mainstay of conservation action.

>>Chelsea Benson: I’m jumping in because Ben’s laptop just crashed. So hi everybody, I’m Chelsea and I work with the Visitor Center and I’m doing all the behind-the-scenes on this webinar. So I’m gonna move forward with some Q&A until Ben rejoins us.

So let’s see, we were with Connor. And one of the questions about the wildfires were, “Do you know if any of your recording units survived through the wildfires?”

>>Connor Wood: Yeah, fortunately for us, we had finished up our field work before the fire season really got going, so we didn’t lose any hardware. But I’ve actually put a few units out in sort of ongoing really low intensity prescribed fires, kind of just to see what would happen. And when you have a low intensity fire, it kind of just burns along the surface of the ground and didn’t affect the unit. So yeah they’re pretty rugged.

>>Chelsea Benson: Yeah that’s good. One of the things that I saw come up, not only in the chat but in the Q&A, was about BirdNET. And most people didn’t realize that it was used for research purposes, they thought it was just a really cool app to identify birdsong. Which is really cool. But could you tell us a little bit more about how it’s used for research? And how just me, as an everyday person using the app, can help science? And then I’m going to turn it over to Ben.

>>Connor Wood: That’s a great question. So those of you who have Android phones, you can download a free BirdNET app. And for you Apple folks, we’re hoping to have the Apple version of the app live, maybe in December? But basically, the underlying computer program was developed by my friend and Lab colleague Stefan Kahl. And so we can apply it, package it up for an app, or we can run it on pretty powerful computers that we have at the Lab.

And so we just, in the same way that you’d feed a little clip that you’ve recorded your phone into that computer program? We can just feed in hundreds of thousands of hours of audio from our SWIFT recorders into those computers, and basically it will just give us predictions for what species might be vocalizing at a given time. And so basically we can see what birds are where and when they’re there. And then we can even get more detail, like for little songbirds we can compare the number of vocalizations between locations, and say wow, there’s not just they’re present here, but there’s a lot of individuals.

>>Ben Mirin: All right I am back. Sorry for the technical blip. My computer died, but it is alive again, I revived it.
There is a really cool question here, that I think was inspired by the discussion of the the elephant dictionary. But it extends across taxa, it’s taxonomically agnostic. “Does each species have its own phonetic alphabet? Or each group of species?” And feel free to elaborate on that as much as you can, because obviously research on different taxas is in different stages, but you are also all unpacking language on some level. Aaron, you want to start?

>>Aaron Rice: Sure, yeah. It’s one of those things where we see a wide variety of different complexity and vocalizations across different taxas. Some is just being able to sort of, a on-off associated with the behavior. And then we get into some of the semiotics and syntax, where you have a number of animals that are producing sort of composite calls. And so being able to look at and discern the meaning of individual calls, is sort of one of the holy grails within the field of animal bioacoustics.

And so, one of the advantages of studying things like fish is they’re relatively simple, and so we don’t have to deal with some of the difficulties of the complexities and semiotics that mammals, primates and birds are dealing with. Certainly there’s cases where there are animals that are much easier to address, things like whale species, where it’s difficult to or impossible to actually do experiments on them. We may never know. And so that’s both this sense of frustration, as well as this challenge that we that we pursue, to try to understand what exactly they’re saying to each other.

>>Daniela Hedwig: I think the the various animal species, they all have a certain sets of vocalizations that serve specific functions within their social system and also in their environment, and so they have different functions for different calls. For instance, for coordinating affiliative interactions, for coordinating competition for finding mates. And all those different functions come together in their vocal repertoire, which is very specific to each species.

>>Chelsea Benson: I think Ben’s out again. All right, well we only have a few minutes left, so we have a few questions. One of them is about the other sounds that you pick up on ARUs. What do you do with those sounds that are kind of off to the side, that you weren’t expecting to hear, maybe? And I know with the Elephant Listening Project, this is something that you guys have come across quite a bit in your recording. So maybe Daniela or Bobbi could take that question.

>>Daniela Hedwig: A sound that we unfortunately come across very frequently are gunshots. And those are gunshots that are specifically often aimed for elephants, given by poachers to get their ivory. And we are using that. Just as we do with the rumbles, we are also counting those gunshots, and we’re looking at where they are occurring in the landscape. And all over the place where we work in Africa, we always work together with the local park management, with a local organization, so we can pass on this information about where and when gunshots occur to the park management. Which then can guide their anti-poaching patrols and efforts with that information.

>>Bobbi Estabrook: One of our one of our hopes in the future, as technology develops and especially accessibility in remote areas in terms of satellite connections improves over time, is it’d be great if we could have a real-time response to gunshots that have that are detected on a device. And that people who who patrol the parks could immediately respond.

>>Ben Mirin: Folks, I am back again. Technology’s entertaining, isn’t it? I’m just glad we got through 95% of our show before this happened. Thank you Chelsea for saving me in these strange moments.

I see we have a few more minutes, and I’d just love to ask one final question for the group from the chat. It’s just a way of getting everybody else involved in sound recording. The question is, “How do I record my own soundscapes?”

And let’s see, who hasn’t started it yet? Bobbi, how about you take a crack at starting this one, then we’ll go around.
>>Bobbi Estabrook: So how do you record your own soundscapes?

>>Ben Mirin: Yeah, and perhaps in the habitat that you know best?

>>Bobbi Estabrook: Yeah. Well, so the habitat that I’m familiar with is dense forest. And so a lot of times there might be raindrop issues or maybe there’s like water flow or something causing background noise. But so ideally you could have maybe even just your cell phone, if you have one, and you would just connect a microphone to it. And just maybe even build your own kind of parabola that could help drown out some of that excess noise of leaves or water flow. But I don’t know, just trek through the forest, and see what you can get, aim at something that sounds interesting. Stand still and quiet and just listen. And it’s just one of the most powerful feelings, I think you’re really part of the environment at that point and it’s it’s incredible.

>>Ben Mirin: Daniela what about you?

>>Daniela Hedwig: Yeah that was really an eye-opener for me. When I just started with acoustics I had just bought a directional microphone and nice headphones, and I went out to the park and I put on my headphones, I turned on the microphone, and I just pointed it into the trees around me. And all of a sudden I could hear all those tiny little sounds in the trees. Maybe like little birds sitting in their nests tending their their young. And it was such an eye opener, like I before that I had no idea that this world of sound actually exists. Yeah I really highly recommend that. Just take your take a microphone, crank up the gain, listen to it through your headphones, close your eyes and just get one with it. It’s really amazing.

>>Ben Mirin: Isha, what about you?

>>Isha Bopardikar: I had a similar experience like Daniela, when I first dipped a hydrophone. You know the ocean looks so calm and you don’t — I never thought it would be that noisy underwater. But it was full of the shrimp, there’s a lot of shrimp, there’s a lot of fish that I could hear, and then I could hear the dolphins. So it’s like a sudden burst of sounds that just get to you, you know? It’s quite a powerful feeling. And if you ever get a chance to listen to something in the middle of the ocean, with a hydrophone dipping down the side, yep it’s perfect.

>>Ben Mirin: But I will say, don’t put a regular microphone in the ocean. Don’t do that. This microphone will not survive the ocean, nor will your cell phone. But hydrophones, some of them are actually quite easy to find, yes?

>>Isha Bopardikar: Yes, I think the Dolphin Ear is pretty cheap. It’s like a tiny disc that you can just use, and it’s used for recreational purposes a lot.

>>Ben Mirin: Yeah, thank you for clarifying that. I didn’t know about the Dolphin Ear, actually, but I’m gonna check that out.

>>Isha Bopardikar: It’s pretty cheap!

>>Ben Mirin: It’s cheap? Yeah. Nice. Connor, passing the baton to you.

>>Connor Wood: So I’m pretty partial to the SWIFT units that the Lab makes. We have almost two thousand now out in the Sierra project, so I’m a big believer. And I think if they’re about $250, you can put in an order at the Lab.

And then there’s also a lot of other manufacturers that make recording hardware. And there’s some open source instructions that are freely available on the internet. I think for about $45, and that includes like a zip lock bag to drop your stuff in, you can make have a little recorder and put it in your backyard. So that’s part of the Lab’s mission, is trying to make these tools as accessible as possible.

And then also the free Raven software, that a lot of us use in our research, you guys can use too. So you can actually look at your sounds and play them. So get out your phone and start recording little clips.

>>Ben Mirin: And last but not least. Aaron what would you say?

>>Aaron Rice: So we have these giant recorders, but what I really like to do is be able to sort of take a small hydrophone and a set of headphones, pretty much wherever I go. As for many of us, you know, our study systems are places really of personal inspiration and passion. And so whenever I travel to various sites, whether it’s on vacation or for work, if I can get close to a body of water I’m always just dropping a hydrophone in.

And it’s amazing that hydrophone technology was originally developed by the US Navy, and you know in the 40s and 50s it used to be cost prohibitive for for civilians and hobbyists to use or to buy. But as Isha was mentioning they’ve come down significantly in cost. So you can get a a pretty good hydrophone for about around 100 bucks or so. People are dropping them off of kayaks when they go kayaking to listen for whales, people will use them for fishing, or you can just sort of stand on a dock and listen to the underwater sounds around you.

>>Ben Mirin: Thank you all for that insight, it really means a lot. Folks I hope I hope you leave today’s session with a simple truth: that the world is always singing, and no matter where you are you can always tune in. And if you want to take it a step further, you can use whatever microphone you have — whether something like this, something like this — whatever’s on you is the best microphone you have to collect some data on the heartbeat of the earth.

It’s been a real pleasure to host this session, and to introduce some of my esteemed colleagues from the Center for Conservation Bioacoustics. Thank you Connor, Aaron, Isha, Bobbi, and Daniela.

And a huge thank you to all of you, you asked some amazing questions today. If we didn’t get to your question, please email us and we will be happy to follow up with you more directly. For general questions about the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, bird ID help, or pretty much any random question about birds, please email our Public Information team at cornellbirds@cornell.edu . For more technical questions about the Center for Conservation Bioacoustics, you can email bioacoustics@cornell.edu . We’re dropping those emails in the chat and Facebook comments right now.

As we sign off, I’m going to see if I can pull up some final sounds here just to take us out. But thank you again for joining us, it’s been a real pleasure. Take care everyone.

[Music and natural sounds playing]

>>Ben Mirin: Welcome to the show.

[Music playing]

>>Ben Mirin: Welcome everyone to today’s webinar, exploring nature through sound and music with the Cornell Lab’s Center for Conservation Bioacoustics. My name is Benjamin Mirin and I’m a PhD student, I study birdsong in southeast Asia. Thank you all for joining us. During today’s program we’ll be traveling from the Sierra Nevadas in the western United States to central Africa, and then dive below the surface of the world’s tropical oceans. We’ll be meeting researchers who will share how their acoustic data contributes to conservation, and I’ll be transforming those sounds into live music.

Live music, you wonder? Yes, one of the things that I also do is work as a wildlife DJ. I’ve traveled the world recording animal sounds for the past few years, and sampled them to create music. And my hope in sharing that with you is to get you excited about these sounds that we all study, and to perhaps unlock some of your own passions and think about how to apply them to the natural world.

Before we get started with our presentation from our scientists today, I do have a few quick announcements: Closed captioning is available, if you’d like to see subtitles please click the Captions button at the bottom of your screen.
If you have a question for the presenters, for those of you on Zoom click on the Q&A button located at the bottom of your screen and type your questions into that Q&A window. If you like someone else’s question, please upvote that question by clicking the thumbs up icon. We’ll be answering some questions verbally, and for others we’ll be typing in our answers, which you’ll be able to see in the “Answered” column.

Please only use the chat for technical support or to share information, we will not be monitoring it for questions. If you want to use the chat please change the “To:” form in the typing section from “All Panelists” to “All Panelists and Attendees.”

We are also streaming live to Facebook. If you are watching on the Cornell Lab’s Facebook page, you can add your questions to the comments and we’ll do our best to answer those too. Also, please be aware that there have been some spam attempts in the Facebook comments, so please do not click any links in Facebook unless they are posted by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

With that, let’s get started. I’m so excited to introduce our first presenter today, Dr. Connor Wood, who has done a lot of work recording Spotted Owls in the Sierra Nevadas in California. Please take it away Connor, and tell us all about your research.

>>Connor Wood: Thanks Ben, and thanks everybody for tuning in. It’s great to have a big crowd today. So I joined the Lab this summer as a postdoctoral researcher, and like Ben said I work in California Sierra Nevada. I started working there in 2017 during my PhD at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and the goal of the project was to develop a monitoring program for Spotted Owls. And I’d never seen or heard a Spotted Owl, so I was super excited to add a famous bird to the old life list.

Now since the 1990s, researchers have used a few small-scale studies to track the Spotted Owl population. We wanted to see how they are doing everywhere, not just in these small study areas. And to do this we needed to use bioacoustics. So we bought 200 recording devices from the Lab, and each summer since 2017 the crew has been shuffling those units all around the mountains in the northern Sierras.

This approach is much more efficient than traditional surveys, which helps us get that really broad coverage that we want. Basically, we strap these units — and so this is one of them you can see here — we strap these units to trees and they just sit there and record. And what we’re listening for is the call of the Spotted Owl, which you’ll hear a little bit later.

We don’t actually do very much literal listening, because we collect about 350,000 hours of audio every year. Which is about 40 years of audio data, and to be honest that’s pretty terrifying. That’s a lot of data. So to make that manageable, I used software that was developed by the Lab of Ornithology to scan that data for the Spotted Owl calls. And with that info, I can see where they are and where they are not, and how that’s changing over time.

So my goal now is to actually look at the entire bird community, not just Spotted Owls. Since the beginning of the project, we’ve had these recording units active all night of course for the owls, but also recording into the dawn and dusk chorus. So now it’s just a question of identifying all the birds that are singing.

Fortunately, the Lab has a new artificial intelligence tool called BirdNET, which can identify more than 95 percent of North American and European birds just by sound. So right now, I’m working on applying BirdNET to that Sierra Nevada audio data. And I’m excited because I think the results will be useful right away.

I saw some people in the chat are tuning in from California, and I’m sure a lot of the rest of you have heard about all the really bad fires that were happening this fall. Well, one of the biggest ones burned right through part of our study area. And this is really sad, but it means we can start working on understanding the effects of that fire immediately. We already have data about what birds were present before the fire, and next fall will have data on what’s present after the fire. And so I think a key part of this project will be helping managers design policies that reduce the risk of these really big fires, without having negative consequences for overall bird diversity.

And so I think this project is already transforming how we monitor birds in the Sierra Nevada. We can get much bigger coverage than we did before, for Spotted Owls and for everything else. And I’m optimistic that this we can also help people in different ecosystems design their own acoustic monitoring programs. So it’s pretty exciting time to be part of this project.

>>Ben Mirin: Connor, thank you so much for giving us a window into the work you’ve been doing. I’m curious, what is the next step for your research?

>>Connor Wood: Yeah. So this summer we’re planning to expand from the northern Sierra Nevada to the entire range. So that’s 400 miles of mountainous terrain and it’s going to be a big challenge. But I think there will also be really big payoffs for bird conservation, and really how we can manage the entire ecosystem.

>>Ben Mirin: And can you connect this back to owls for us? Because that’s where we started, and I think that’s such an amazing way of kind of gaining entry into this world that you’ve been immersed in for so long.

>>Connor Wood: Yeah. So people think of Spotted Owls as an umbrella species. And that’s this idea where if you protect one species, you end up protecting a lot of other ones. But in the case of Spotted Owls, which have really specialized habitat requirements, that’s actually not very effective because you miss those species that aren’t specialized also in that same habitat type. But this monitoring program I think is a chance to change that. So it’s funded because Spotted Owls are endangered, but we can use the data to help protect all these other species in the ecosystem. So in a way I think this program is a chance for Spotted Owls to actually kind of become a true umbrella species for maybe the first time.

>>Ben Mirin: And speaking of that umbrella species, I think we still owe our audience a bit of a listen on what these owls actually sound like. So I’m going to share a piece of your data set. Ladies and gentlemen get excited. We’re going to listen to the Spotted Owl call in the wild, and then Connor is going to tell us a little bit about what’s happening in this recording. Check this out.

Pardon me folks, just going to double check something, make sure you can all hear.

Okay, there it is, sorry. Here we go.

[Owl hooting]

>>Connor Wood: Yeah, so that is a clip of a male Spotted Owl hooting, and I think in a few seconds maybe the female might chime in and respond. And on sort of a big picture way, like, that’s the sound of the project working. Without the hearing those vocalizations the whole thing kind of falls apart. And so that’s obviously really reassuring. But it’s also this really cool and intimate view into the secret lives of these owls. And that’s really one of my favorite parts of the project, is getting to this little window into the lives of these birds it’s really very exciting.

>>Ben Mirin: And as the owls go to sleep in the early morning hours the sounds of the landscape will change. And the function of the umbrella species becomes truly clear, because suddenly the acoustic world of the Sierras opens up and we hear all other kinds of species vocalizing for the first time that day.

[Music and bird sounds playing]

>>Ben Mirin: Take it, Nuthatch!

[Music and bird sounds playing]

>>Ben Mirin: Now we find ourselves in a new part of the world, on this international journey. We are in the heart of central Africa, listening to the sounds of some of the biggest vocalists on the planet. And here to introduce us to them are Daniela and Bobbi from the Elephant Listening Project.

[Video playing]

>>Daniela Hedwig: Hi, I’m Daniela Hedwig. I’m a researcher with the Elephant Listening Project at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. I am here at one of the last remaining pristine wonders of nature: Zangabai. Zangabai is a vast forest clearing in the heart of the rainforest of the Dzanga-Ndoki National Park in the Central African Republic.

Zangabai is an exceptional place because it is home to the largest known aggregation of forest elephants. Anytime you come here you can expect to see between 50 and 150 forest elephants. The elephants have come here over many generations and have shaped and maintained this clearing. They visit the clearing to access the mineral rich water through small water holes in the ground.

But Zanga doesn’t provide them only with minerals and water, it also provides them with the opportunity to socialize. Here the females meet their mothers and sisters, and the males establish their hierarchies. And the youngsters, they play and learn elephant social etiquette.

Little is known about forest elephant behavior. This is mainly because they are so extremely difficult to observe in the rainforest itself. But here at Zanga we get the rare chance to observe them and study them when they come out into the open.

Elephants use low frequency rumble vocalizations to communicate with each other. Those rumbles play very important roles in coordinating the social interactions between the elephants. We will now continue monitoring this amazing elephant population, to better understand the social relationships between the elephants and also their vocal communication.

[Video stops]

>>Ben Mirin: Daniela and Bobbi so nice to see you both.

>>Bobbi Estabrook: Hello.

>>Ben Mirin: That was an amazing video, thank you for sharing it. I’m curious, what kind of research are you currently collecting at Zangabai?

>>Daniela Hedwig: So as I said in the video, part of our research focuses on better understanding the functions of the rumble vocalizations. And to better illustrate that I brought a little sound clip which I’m going to share with you now.

So here you can see a visual representation of a rumble exchange between two adult female forest elephants. And we can listen to this, hopefully, yeah.

[Elephant rumble sounds playing]

>>Daniela Hedwig: So from recordings like this, we know that rumbles are very variable in their structure. Some are very long in duration, some are short in duration. Some are very high pitched, some are low pitched. And our goal is to kind of decipher what this acoustic variation means.

In the case of this example, we recorded two sisters that have just met again at the clearing, perhaps after many months of separation. And what happened was, they recognized each other by their voices and started approaching each other. And when they arrived at each other, they started rubbing against each other, smelling each other, touching each other, clearly being really excited about, you know, seeing each other again. So this is clearly a friendly signal.

And we found that those friendly rumbles, they are generally longer in duration than rumbles for instance given during competitive interactions, when they compete over access to a resource. What we also found is that the structure of rumbles changes as the elephants grow and get older. What we found is that old elephants, adult elephants, have much deeper pitched rumbles, and infants have much higher pitched rumbles. So that’s very similar to what we see in humans, actually. This kind of information helps us to compile what we like to internally call our “elephant dictionary.”

>>Ben Mirin: Thank you for that. I’m really just moved to hear these sounds, and to hear you describe them. It strikes me that this is such an intimate way of understanding another living being. And to develop a dictionary to do so, I mean, that’s magical. It’s so powerful to be able to unpack all this data, and of course to gain access to this other part of the world and have it feel so close to all of us today. How is this gonna advance the mission of the Elephant Listening Project?

>>Daniela Hedwig: Well, it’s unfortunately a fact that forest elephants are threatened. Main factors are poaching for their ivory, and general human encroachment into their habitat. And the sad thing is that we understand their conservation needs very little. The main reason for this is because they’re so very difficult to observe in their forest. It makes it very hard to count them, you know, their population sizes. And it’s very difficult to understand their behavior in the forest as well.

And this is where the acoustic monitoring comes in. We believe that the eavesdropping on their vocalizations, using acoustic monitoring, is the key to their conservation. And what we do is, we have recording units like this. A little bit more rugged than what a Connor has in the Sierra Nevada. I hope you can see it.

>>Ben Mirin: I can, I can see it most of the time. But Bobbi, you have one too, right?

>>Bobbi Estabrook: Yeah, I have one as well. So the microphone is here. And this is a nice protective hard case, that’s going to protect the device inside from humidity, rain, termites, primates…

>>Ben Mirin: Elephants?

>>Daniela Hedwig: But it does not always protect against the elephants themselves.

>>Bobbi Estabrook: Exactly.

>>Daniela Hedwig: You install those units deep in the jungle, up in the trees, but sometimes they drop. And then they sometimes get found by inquisitive elephants. And you can see here, this has a nice hole just to go with the tusk.

>>Ben Mirin: That’s crazy.

>>Daniela Hedwig: They’re very curious animals.

>>Bobbi Estabrook: And they can really sense when there’s something there that that isn’t normally there.

>>Ben Mirin: Yeah, right. Right.

>>Daniela Hedwig: Yeah so what we do is we place those units in the forest. We leave them out there recording the soundscape of the forest for several months, and later in the in the lab we listen, or we scan the soundscape, the recordings that we get. We’re looking for the elephant rumbles, and we count those rumbles, and that helps us to better understand the population size of the elephants in the area, how this changes over time and space. And with the elephant dictionary now, the cool thing is that we can now also begin to understand what the elephant that we recorded was doing when it was producing the rumble, and how old this elephant was.

This is really cool information. We can, for instance, find out are there specific areas in the forest where families meet? Are there specific areas where the big bulls with the deep voices prefer to aggregate in the forest? And this is important information because it helps us to define priority conservation areas, and also to better guide anti-poaching patrol.

>>Ben Mirin: This is all so special. It just occurs to me that, working with these sounds, I mean — I’m becoming a bioacoustician in my own right with a birdsong, but I worked with elephant sounds to make some music that we’re about to transition into a few years ago. And I’m thinking back through all the sounds I have in this track, and trying now to categorize them in the dictionary, and wondering what each of them means.

I’m lucky enough to actually have some data from Zangabai to kick off this next track. I would just love to share with you and get your two cents on what is happening. Because I think there are very few people in the world who can listen to elephants and say, “oh yeah they’re doing this,” but you have this superpower. So I just love to share this with you and nerd out for a second. So it sounds a bit like this.

[Elephant sounds playing]

>>Ben Mirin: So what was happening in that, shouting contest it sounded like?

>>Bobbi Estabrook: Yeah that sounded like it was agitation, and displacement from a watering hole. And that roar, it sounds like a dinosaur roar, but it’s just it’s a really upset elephant, in kind of maybe an aggression situation.

>>Ben Mirin: One of the crazy things I came across when I was composing this piece, was some elephant tracks that were straight out of Hollywood. If folks go and watch Jurassic Park, the first one, again and they hear the T-rex bellowing, that’s actually the sound of an elephant and it’s from this data set. I mean that is so cool, it truly is dinosauric, isn’t it? Thank you to you both for illuminating this incredible species for us, it really means a lot.

>>Daniela Hedwig: Thank you for having us.

>>Bobbi Estabrook: Thank you.

>>Ben Mirin: Let’s keep rocking out.

[Music and elephant sound playing]

>>Ben Mirin: Stomp your feet!

[Music and elephant sound playing]

>>Ben Mirin: In our final stop on this world tour, we’re taking a dive beneath the waves off the coast of Hawaii, into the tropical oceans where sound dominates. Light can’t go very far past the ocean’s surface, and so sound is truly a primary mechanism for communication and survival in the ocean. And here to tell us about that incredible ecosystem and what we can hear, are Isha and Aaron.

>>Isha Bopardikar: Thank you Ben. Hi everyone, thanks for joining. I have a little video that tells us more about the work that we do. So I’m gonna play that.

[Video playing]

>>Isha Bopardikar: I study coastal cetaceans — that’s whales, dolphins, and porpoises — in Indian waters. That’s our team, prepping to look for some Finless Porpoises. As their name suggests, these small elusive animals don’t have a dorsal fin, which makes them a little tricky to spot at sea.

Finless Porpoises, along with the Indian Ocean Humpback Dolphins, live in coastal habitats, placing them right in the middle of all kinds of human activity. Where they face a range of conservation issues, like habitat degradation, and accidental mortalities in by-catch as they interact with fishing vessels and fishing gear. Such concerns make it crucial for us to study these animals and their changing environment.

But how do you study an animal when you can barely see it? This is where acoustics helps. Both dolphins and porpoises produce sounds constantly, to communicate with each other, to find food, and to navigate their surroundings. So by using some specially designed recording setups, we can listen to these very sounds to help us not only locate them, but also count the number of animals present in an area. Over time we hope that by using these information, of how many and how often these animals are found, particularly in disturbed habitats, we can develop some strong conservation measures for these coastal species.

[Video stops]

>>Isha Bopardikar: So while I’m usually listening to larger marine animals, there are incredible animals in the tropical ocean who are small. And they produce some amazing sounds. Aaron is going to talk to us more about that, so I’m going to hand it over to Aaron.

>>Aaron Rice: Thanks, Isha.

So as Isha mentioned, it’s not just whales, dolphins, and porpoises that are making sounds. In these near-shore highly diverse tropical ecosystems, there is a wide range of very small critters you can’t see that are the dominant sound sources. So if we take this particular coral reef in Hawaii, you’ll hear this crackling noise in the background.

[Video and crackling sound playing]

>>Aaron Rice: And this dominant sound source on these coral reefs happens to be produced by about an inch-long shrimp, that are found in all of these crevices on the reef. So originally the idea was that the sound was produced by a clicking of the claws, thought of sort of as a castanets. But recent research shows that it’s actually something much cooler. So what they do is, when the the shrimps open up their claws and it’s closing, what it does is it generates a jet of water that shoots out from this shrimp at about 70 miles an hour. And it creates a cavitation bubble and the sound that you’re actually hearing is when that bubble collapses.

Another source of sound you’ll see, all of these grazing parrotfish chomping happily on coral, scraping off algae. These parrotfish are grinding the coral in their jaws, and a second set of jaws they have in their throat. And they end up pooping out nice white sand. So all those sandy beaches that you walk on, the majority of it is from parrotfish food. Each parrotfish can produce about two tons of sand a year, and the abundance of parrotfish is a good indicator of healthy coral reef systems around the world.

[Music playing]

[Unintelligible]

>>Ben Mirin: Aaron thank you for introducing us to this environment. And Isha, thank you as well.

When I when I first started working with the sounds of snapping shrimp, it always sounded like frying bacon to me. I’m curious if that resonates with other folks. Just isolate this really quick…

[Shrimp sounds playing]

>>Ben Mirin: It kind of makes me hungry, I’m not gonna lie.

So folks we’ve learned about a lot of different sounds in the world today. But one of the most fun things is that a lot of these sounds have co-evolved in different ecosystems to blend together like pieces of a perfectly tuned symphony, shaped by millions of years of evolution. And so now we’re going to take some of the sounds that we just met from the ocean, and layer them to create our final beat.

Right now you can hear decilis and snapping shrimp and a whole host of other fish species. And as that sound propagates through the ocean, as Aaron said it indicates a healthy reef, and that attracts some other animals to the reef as well. And so sound travels all the way up the food chain, until things get much, much bigger.

[Music and marine sounds playing]

>>Ben Mirin: Where my dolphin at?

[Music and marine sounds playing]

>>Ben Mirin: Thank you so much to everyone for tuning in today. We’re now going to segue to a bit of a Q&A, to feature all of our panelists back again. I’m sure we’ve got a lot of questions coming through the chats on Facebook and on Zoom here, so I’m going to be reading them for our team and passing them along.

But let’s welcome back all of our panelists. Great to see you all, thanks so much for sharing your knowledge today. It’s been really a privilege for me as well as for the audience. So yeah, great to have you back.

Let’s see. So, oh wow, the first question is directed at me. “Please re-state what type of DJ you are.”

I’m a wildlife DJ. It’s a term that I came up with, to describe a unique synthesis of music and biology. And the the reason I do this work is to communicate science with new audiences. I was a professional musician before coming to Cornell to start my PhD. And when I started sampling the sounds of birds to reconnect with them from my apartment in Brooklyn, I suddenly discovered that I had a set that I could perform live to my music friends. And so that became uh a tool for me to communicate science to an audience that wasn’t necessarily immersed in the literature or reading popular scientific publications. So yeah, I’m of course really excited to be here, studying at the Lab and developing the science behind the work, but for me it’s one big ecosystem between music and science.

So let’s see. Let’s go to an ocean question, for Aaron and Isha. “What do you use to record underwater animals?”

>>Aaron Rice: Isha, you want to answer or you want me to answer it?

>>Isha Bopardikar: We can both. So I use hydrophone arrays. That’s multiple hydrophones in sort of like, a you can have a linear one, or you can have one in like a rectangular shape, and you primarily use that. So that we can locate the animals and then triangulate to that location and then find out where they are and what they’re doing.

>>Aaron Rice: And we use a variety of underwater equipment for our work. We’ll use everything from what are referred to as dip hydrophones, which is sort of like a little underwater microphone on the end of a cable that you can plug into a recorder. We also have a wide variety of autonomous recorders that we can basically throw over the side of a boat, they sit on the ocean bottom, they record for weeks to months, and then we pick them up at the end of the study or or swap them out. And so basically these are different ways of sort of recording underwater sound through the specialized hydrophone, and then we bring it up on an SD card, and we would analyze in the exact same way that you would analyze a sound recorded by the types of recorders that Connor, Bobbi, and Daniela are using.

>>Ben Mirin: Thank you both. The next question was originally targeted to the ocean team, but I think it’s a question we can all answer. “What is your favorite sound, either to listen to or to study, and why?” It may be a very difficult question to answer, I understand that too.

>>Bobbi Estabrook: Okay I’ll go first. I think one of the first sounds that I heard that really kind of blew me away, was actually the Fin Whale 20 hertz. It’s like a pulsing sound, it is very low frequency, just at the lower edge of our ability to hear, and sometimes you can just feel it more than you can hear it. And I was very impressed. That was one of the first sounds that I had heard when I was you know learning about bio-acoustics, and it was impressive.

>>Connor Wood: My answer might be a little bit of a cop-out, but it might just be that basic Spotted Owl call, because that was like one of the first things I heard as the project was getting started. It was really reassuring, because we honestly weren’t certain that this whole approach that we invested like time and money into was really going to work. And so the fact that it was working was really exciting.

Other species have a whole repertoire of sounds they use, and so we would find just those basic calls, but that was like our starting point into like understanding their lives. So I kind of like it for that reason too. And see these other vocalizations that they’ll make that have different meanings, and hear the individuals interacting with each other. So yeah there’s like a whole world of sound going on.

>>Ben Mirin: So it was both academically rewarding and personally vindicating. I get it. Isha, what about you?

>>Isha Bopardikar: Oh, I think my favorites are the Humpback Dolphins. I can’t hear the porpoises ever. They’re very high frequency, so I have to reduce that sound by speed when I come back home. But the Humpback Dolphins I can hear all the time. And I first time I heard them there was a huge group, they were all talking away under water, so it was quite, quite weird. They sound like mice, they squeak squeak squeak, so high frequency. I mean it just sounds so funny, but it was a huge group, talking talking talking. So it’s quite amazing to listen to them.

>>Ben Mirin: But to be clear, they’re marine mammals.

>>Isha Bopardikar: Yes.

>>Ben Mirin: Okay. Daniela, what about you?

>>Daniela Hedwig: I’m not going to say elephant rumble, though that’s pretty high up on my list.

So before I studied elephants, I studied gorillas, and I think my favorite sound is Mountain Gorilla singing. I know like, most people when they hear gorillas they think of like grunting sounds and very low pitched sounds, but they actually sing. So they come together and they feed on herbs, and while they’re sitting together in their salad bowl, they start really whining and howling like dogs. And it’s the most amazing and fun thing to watch.

>>Ben Mirin: I need to hear that. I’ve never heard that, that’s amazing.

>>Daniela Hedwig: I cannot do it. I’m not going to —

>>Ben Mirin: No, yeah. I get asked to impersonate animals all the time, and now that I study their vocalizations, I say no, no, the real thing is so much cooler, let’s just listen to that. So I won’t put you on the spot.

Okay. Aaron, what about you, what are some of your favorite sounds?

>>Aaron Rice: So being a fish scientist, I have to go with fish sounds. One of them is, one of our species is the Oyster Toadfish. And sort of during one of my formative experiences in graduate school, was snorkeling off of Cape Cod right over a toadfish nest. And it’s sort of an indelicate honk, but when you swim over it your entire body just resonates with it, with the sound of these fish. It’s really an impressive sound. And you’ll have a colony of toadfish that are just honking on and off, with males attracting females, and it just sort of creates this absolute cacophony, that if you know you know the source of the sound is really quite exciting.

And you know, being within the Lab of Ornithology, one of the bird sounds that I’ve been really struck by is a New Zealand species of bird, the Tui. And for those of you that haven’t heard it, I mean it has an uncanny resemblance to R2D2. My understanding is that for Star Wars the Tui sound I don’t think was the type. But if you listen to it, there’s some examples on the Macaulay Library archive, it is just really astonishing to listen to.

>>Ben Mirin: Droids have got nothing on birds, I can vouch for that.

I have a question for the ELP team, Elephant Listening Project. These are both really interesting questions. “Can we distinguish male or female elephants by their sounds?” And then, “Are cameras set up as well to match the sounds to the behavior?” And, “Do elephants ever wear the recording devices?” So I guess three questions.

>>Bobbi Estabrook: Yeah, those are great questions. Daniela actually is in the middle of doing some research with the sex of the elephants.

>>Daniela Hedwig: Yeah. Yeah, we can tell apart male and female adult forest elephants. So as I said earlier, the males get very very large, so they have very very deep rumbles. And the females, they stay smaller, so we can distinguish that. But amongst the sub-adults and juveniles and infants, it gets a little trickier to tell apart the males from the females. We’re working on that.

What was the other question? Was the the sound recording devices on the collars? Yeah so both questions actually really touch on our bigger vision of where we want to take our research. Obviously right now we are we are watching elephants only in the clearing where they spend only very very little time, right? So we actually still don’t really know what they’re doing in the forest. That’s where collars with recording devices come in, and camera traps paired with recording devices. And that’s something that we’re working on, yeah.

>>Bobbi Estabrook: One of our recent projects included camera traps and passive acoustic recording units that were set up in trees together. So they were not part of an elephant collar or anything. But some of our team members are going through those data right now, to see what kind of information we can get from the camera and the acoustics together.

>>Ben Mirin: Very cool. And there’s one more technical technical question about elephants: “What is the frequency range? The lowest frequency to the highest frequency that elephants are capable of?”

>>Daniela Hedwig: Well the cool thing about elephants is that they can make sounds that we can’t even hear. Their voices can get so deep that they’re in the infrasound range, meaning under 20 hertz, which is very difficult to hear for us. But there’s also still energy in the upper frequency, so it can go up to a thousand hertz for the rumbles, but for the very loud roars it can get much much higher.

>>Ben Mirin: Wow. This next question I really love, and it’s for Connor. “How can we turn listening into conservation action?”

>>Connor Wood: Yeah that’s a great question. And I think it really is something that we could all give an answer to, because that’s kind of fundamental to what we’re doing at the Center for Conservation Bioacoustics.

So I’ll give kind of a narrow answer just related to my project. So I gave the example [unintelligible] forest fires. So we surveyed before the fire and what kind of species were present, and then after the fire we can repeat those surveys and see what has changed.

And so we can take that same principle and apply it to different treatments. Say people are going to do a prescribed fire, or go out and do some sort of logging. Or in different ecosystems, like if you’re going to have a grassland ecosystem, when do you want to mow your field, and not affect birds? You can do this to see what’s there after, and then you can take those results and say okay, this is the effect that that action has. So if we like that outcome, we can do more of that action, and if we don’t we can try to avoid it.

And I think that’s a starting point for conservation. I’d love to hear other folks.

>>Aaron Rice: Certainly one thing that we can do too, whether it’s in marine systems or terrestrial ecosystems, we can use these sounds to document the levels of human presence, and what their various degrees of impacts are. We can look at ecosystem function, are things sort of responding in ways that we would predict? Are there aggregations in, you know, in case of fish stocks where they they produce sounds with associated with spawning. We can test the the effectiveness of things like fisheries closures. So you’ll see a number of analogous ways both for marine conservation and terrestrial conservation where bioacoustic methods are becoming more and more of a mainstay of conservation action.

>>Chelsea Benson: I’m jumping in because Ben’s laptop just crashed. So hi everybody, I’m Chelsea and I work with the Visitor Center and I’m doing all the behind-the-scenes on this webinar. So I’m gonna move forward with some Q&A until Ben rejoins us.

So let’s see, we were with Connor. And one of the questions about the wildfires were, “Do you know if any of your recording units survived through the wildfires?”

>>Connor Wood: Yeah, fortunately for us, we had finished up our field work before the fire season really got going, so we didn’t lose any hardware. But I’ve actually put a few units out in sort of ongoing really low intensity prescribed fires, kind of just to see what would happen. And when you have a low intensity fire, it kind of just burns along the surface of the ground and didn’t affect the unit. So yeah they’re pretty rugged.

>>Chelsea Benson: Yeah that’s good. One of the things that I saw come up, not only in the chat but in the Q&A, was about BirdNET. And most people didn’t realize that it was used for research purposes, they thought it was just a really cool app to identify birdsong. Which is really cool. But could you tell us a little bit more about how it’s used for research? And how just me, as an everyday person using the app, can help science? And then I’m going to turn it over to Ben.

>>Connor Wood: That’s a great question. So those of you who have Android phones, you can download a free BirdNET app. And for you Apple folks, we’re hoping to have the Apple version of the app live, maybe in December? But basically, the underlying computer program was developed by my friend and Lab colleague Stefan Kahl. And so we can apply it, package it up for an app, or we can run it on pretty powerful computers that we have at the Lab.

And so we just, in the same way that you’d feed a little clip that you’ve recorded your phone into that computer program? We can just feed in hundreds of thousands of hours of audio from our SWIFT recorders into those computers, and basically it will just give us predictions for what species might be vocalizing at a given time. And so basically we can see what birds are where and when they’re there. And then we can even get more detail, like for little songbirds we can compare the number of vocalizations between locations, and say wow, there’s not just they’re present here, but there’s a lot of individuals.

>>Ben Mirin: All right I am back. Sorry for the technical blip. My computer died, but it is alive again, I revived it.
There is a really cool question here, that I think was inspired by the discussion of the the elephant dictionary. But it extends across taxa, it’s taxonomically agnostic. “Does each species have its own phonetic alphabet? Or each group of species?” And feel free to elaborate on that as much as you can, because obviously research on different taxas is in different stages, but you are also all unpacking language on some level. Aaron, you want to start?

>>Aaron Rice: Sure, yeah. It’s one of those things where we see a wide variety of different complexity and vocalizations across different taxas. Some is just being able to sort of, a on-off associated with the behavior. And then we get into some of the semiotics and syntax, where you have a number of animals that are producing sort of composite calls. And so being able to look at and discern the meaning of individual calls, is sort of one of the holy grails within the field of animal bioacoustics.

And so, one of the advantages of studying things like fish is they’re relatively simple, and so we don’t have to deal with some of the difficulties of the complexities and semiotics that mammals, primates and birds are dealing with. Certainly there’s cases where there are animals that are much easier to address, things like whale species, where it’s difficult to or impossible to actually do experiments on them. We may never know. And so that’s both this sense of frustration, as well as this challenge that we that we pursue, to try to understand what exactly they’re saying to each other.

>>Daniela Hedwig: I think the the various animal species, they all have a certain sets of vocalizations that serve specific functions within their social system and also in their environment, and so they have different functions for different calls. For instance, for coordinating affiliative interactions, for coordinating competition for finding mates. And all those different functions come together in their vocal repertoire, which is very specific to each species.

>>Chelsea Benson: I think Ben’s out again. All right, well we only have a few minutes left, so we have a few questions. One of them is about the other sounds that you pick up on ARUs. What do you do with those sounds that are kind of off to the side, that you weren’t expecting to hear, maybe? And I know with the Elephant Listening Project, this is something that you guys have come across quite a bit in your recording. So maybe Daniela or Bobbi could take that question.

>>Daniela Hedwig: A sound that we unfortunately come across very frequently are gunshots. And those are gunshots that are specifically often aimed for elephants, given by poachers to get their ivory. And we are using that. Just as we do with the rumbles, we are also counting those gunshots, and we’re looking at where they are occurring in the landscape. And all over the place where we work in Africa, we always work together with the local park management, with a local organization, so we can pass on this information about where and when gunshots occur to the park management. Which then can guide their anti-poaching patrols and efforts with that information.

>>Bobbi Estabrook: One of our one of our hopes in the future, as technology develops and especially accessibility in remote areas in terms of satellite connections improves over time, is it’d be great if we could have a real-time response to gunshots that have that are detected on a device. And that people who who patrol the parks could immediately respond.

>>Ben Mirin: Folks, I am back again. Technology’s entertaining, isn’t it? I’m just glad we got through 95% of our show before this happened. Thank you Chelsea for saving me in these strange moments.

I see we have a few more minutes, and I’d just love to ask one final question for the group from the chat. It’s just a way of getting everybody else involved in sound recording. The question is, “How do I record my own soundscapes?”

And let’s see, who hasn’t started it yet? Bobbi, how about you take a crack at starting this one, then we’ll go around.
>>Bobbi Estabrook: So how do you record your own soundscapes?

>>Ben Mirin: Yeah, and perhaps in the habitat that you know best?

>>Bobbi Estabrook: Yeah. Well, so the habitat that I’m familiar with is dense forest. And so a lot of times there might be raindrop issues or maybe there’s like water flow or something causing background noise. But so ideally you could have maybe even just your cell phone, if you have one, and you would just connect a microphone to it. And just maybe even build your own kind of parabola that could help drown out some of that excess noise of leaves or water flow. But I don’t know, just trek through the forest, and see what you can get, aim at something that sounds interesting. Stand still and quiet and just listen. And it’s just one of the most powerful feelings, I think you’re really part of the environment at that point and it’s it’s incredible.

>>Ben Mirin: Daniela what about you?

>>Daniela Hedwig: Yeah that was really an eye-opener for me. When I just started with acoustics I had just bought a directional microphone and nice headphones, and I went out to the park and I put on my headphones, I turned on the microphone, and I just pointed it into the trees around me. And all of a sudden I could hear all those tiny little sounds in the trees. Maybe like little birds sitting in their nests tending their their young. And it was such an eye opener, like I before that I had no idea that this world of sound actually exists. Yeah I really highly recommend that. Just take your take a microphone, crank up the gain, listen to it through your headphones, close your eyes and just get one with it. It’s really amazing.

>>Ben Mirin: Isha, what about you?

>>Isha Bopardikar: I had a similar experience like Daniela, when I first dipped a hydrophone. You know the ocean looks so calm and you don’t — I never thought it would be that noisy underwater. But it was full of the shrimp, there’s a lot of shrimp, there’s a lot of fish that I could hear, and then I could hear the dolphins. So it’s like a sudden burst of sounds that just get to you, you know? It’s quite a powerful feeling. And if you ever get a chance to listen to something in the middle of the ocean, with a hydrophone dipping down the side, yep it’s perfect.

>>Ben Mirin: But I will say, don’t put a regular microphone in the ocean. Don’t do that. This microphone will not survive the ocean, nor will your cell phone. But hydrophones, some of them are actually quite easy to find, yes?

>>Isha Bopardikar: Yes, I think the Dolphin Ear is pretty cheap. It’s like a tiny disc that you can just use, and it’s used for recreational purposes a lot.

>>Ben Mirin: Yeah, thank you for clarifying that. I didn’t know about the Dolphin Ear, actually, but I’m gonna check that out.

>>Isha Bopardikar: It’s pretty cheap!

>>Ben Mirin: It’s cheap? Yeah. Nice. Connor, passing the baton to you.

>>Connor Wood: So I’m pretty partial to the SWIFT units that the Lab makes. We have almost two thousand now out in the Sierra project, so I’m a big believer. And I think if they’re about $250, you can put in an order at the Lab.

And then there’s also a lot of other manufacturers that make recording hardware. And there’s some open source instructions that are freely available on the internet. I think for about $45, and that includes like a zip lock bag to drop your stuff in, you can make have a little recorder and put it in your backyard. So that’s part of the Lab’s mission, is trying to make these tools as accessible as possible.

And then also the free Raven software, that a lot of us use in our research, you guys can use too. So you can actually look at your sounds and play them. So get out your phone and start recording little clips.

>>Ben Mirin: And last but not least. Aaron what would you say?

>>Aaron Rice: So we have these giant recorders, but what I really like to do is be able to sort of take a small hydrophone and a set of headphones, pretty much wherever I go. As for many of us, you know, our study systems are places really of personal inspiration and passion. And so whenever I travel to various sites, whether it’s on vacation or for work, if I can get close to a body of water I’m always just dropping a hydrophone in.

And it’s amazing that hydrophone technology was originally developed by the US Navy, and you know in the 40s and 50s it used to be cost prohibitive for for civilians and hobbyists to use or to buy. But as Isha was mentioning they’ve come down significantly in cost. So you can get a a pretty good hydrophone for about around 100 bucks or so. People are dropping them off of kayaks when they go kayaking to listen for whales, people will use them for fishing, or you can just sort of stand on a dock and listen to the underwater sounds around you.

>>Ben Mirin: Thank you all for that insight, it really means a lot. Folks I hope I hope you leave today’s session with a simple truth: that the world is always singing, and no matter where you are you can always tune in. And if you want to take it a step further, you can use whatever microphone you have — whether something like this, something like this — whatever’s on you is the best microphone you have to collect some data on the heartbeat of the earth.

It’s been a real pleasure to host this session, and to introduce some of my esteemed colleagues from the Center for Conservation Bioacoustics. Thank you Connor, Aaron, Isha, Bobbi, and Daniela.

And a huge thank you to all of you, you asked some amazing questions today. If we didn’t get to your question, please email us and we will be happy to follow up with you more directly. For general questions about the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, bird ID help, or pretty much any random question about birds, please email our Public Information team at cornellbirds@cornell.edu . For more technical questions about the Center for Conservation Bioacoustics, you can email bioacoustics@cornell.edu . We’re dropping those emails in the chat and Facebook comments right now.

As we sign off, I’m going to see if I can pull up some final sounds here just to take us out. But thank you again for joining us, it’s been a real pleasure. Take care everyone.

[Music and marine sounds playing]

>>Ben Mirin: Say ride that wave. Say ride that wave. Say ride that beat like an ocean wave. Very good.

[Music and marine sounds playing]

End of transcript

Science and music combine to tell the stories of species from around the globe! Join staff from the Cornell Lab’s Center for Conservation Bioacoustics as we explore how and why animals make sound and how these sounds can be used for conservation. Visit California’s Sierra Nevada, listen to rainforest sounds in Central Africa, and dive below the ocean’s surface to listen to whales and coral reefs. Meet researchers working in each of these places and hear their acoustic data transformed into live music by your host, the Lab’s very own Ben Mirin (aka DJ Ecotone). There will be an opportunity for audience Q&A.